Should You Invest in a Microcurrent Device? Derms Say Yes

Here’s the buzz.

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woman using the NuFACE Trinity microcurrent device

Some argue that beauty gadgets are the "skincare of the future"—and the thought certainly resonates. The plethora of tech-savvy tools on the market complement our existing glop-filled regimens, allowing us to easily take our derma game to the next level.

Microcurrent facial devices are perhaps some of the buzziest beauty gadgets out there (pun intended) and iterations exist in both at-home and in-office spaces. Both options are worth your buck, and we're about to tell you why. We asked dermatologists everything you need to know about what microcurrent devices are and how they work.

How Microcurrent Devices Work

Microcurrent technology uses safe, low-voltage electricity to stimulate your muscles and cells. "These facials tighten and smooth the muscles and connective tissues in your face by increasing cellular activity," explains Annie Gonzalez, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, Fla.

She says the devices can help boost collagen production, improve blood circulation, and assist with lymphatic drainage. With consistent treatments, you may notice your skin looks firmer, a bit more lifted, lightly sculpted, and less puffy. It can also create a glowy appearance thanks to that boost in circulation.

Basically: Microcurrent devices put your muscles through a little "workout." And not only can you see results right away, but the results are cumulative over time.

At-Home vs. In-Office Microcurrent Treatments

The booming popularity of professional microcurrent facials has inevitably led to the emergence of snazzy at-home devices, such as NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device ($339; and Face Gym Pure Lift Face ($520; However, as with most at-home tools, there are some key differences between an in-office microcurrent facial and an at-home alternative.

"The differences lie in the strength of wavelengths and currents. The two vary drastically, with some professional machines having a variety of wavelengths, giving them sharper targets and strength," says Dr. Gonzalez. "Some devices also read the amount of energy your skin needs in order to provide more tailored treatment."

Lifting results from a professional treatment last anywhere between a week and a month, and, as mentioned above, these results are cumulative. A series of 10 treatments spread out every two to five weeks is recommended, and you can expect to pay $250 to $500 per session.

That soaring price tag is another differentiator between at-home microcurrent devices snd in-office treatments. For a purchased device, you simply have one up-front payment and then the buzzy tool is yours to keep and use as often as you desire.

However, as you might expect, at-home microcurrent tools usually work on a much lower charge compared to in-office equipment. While they do have similar benefits, the results are notably subtler. You'll need to use the tool daily—usually for about five to 10 minutes each time—over the course of many months in order to see a change. (However, some people do report an instant glow after using the devices.)

One option is to take advantage of both, as at-home devices can help maintain results between in-office appointments. "I have been offering microcurrent facials for almost two decades—back then it was called the 'non-surgical facelift' and it was the trendiest red carpet facial," says Julie Lindh, an esthetician based in New York City. "For in-between treatment, I advised clients to do 'face fitness' [exercises] to maintain the lift at home. Microcurrent devices do the job easier in less time."

Even if you choose to skip the in-office treatment and simply use an at-home microcurrent device, your skin will reap the benefits. You'll just see milder results.

Are Microcurrent Devices Safe?

Absolutely. Microcurrent technology has been around for decades and is considered safe, effective, and targeted. In fact, microcurrent devices were predominantly used in physical therapy in the early years.

"Microcurrent devices are perfectly safe and effective to start using in your 20s and continue throughout your adult life. Whether you decide to practice at home or with a professional, almost everyone can use them," says Dr. Gonzalez.

The only exceptions are if you have epilepsy, diabetes, heart issues, or if you are pregnant. Also, Dr. Gonzalez says that if you have acne, microcurrent treatments can potentially stimulate inflammation, so be mindful of that as well. As always, when in doubt, ask your dermatologist about whether microcurrent treatments are a good choice for your skin concerns.

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